Recycle Utah, a two-time Park City Climate Fund grant recipient and an annual Community Fund grant recipient saw a massive influx in recycling drop-offs during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a community-supported organization, the small team of twelve relied on the resources, equipment, and outreach made available to them through funding in order to stay afloat. In return, they kept waste out of landfills and offered a trustworthy place for community members to lean on during a confusing time.
“People trust us, they have for so long,” said Director of Development and Communications, Eric Moldenhauer. “They had a need, so we made the adjustments necessary to fill that need.”
As Summit County’s population and purchasing habits changed with the times, Recycle Utah chose to open its doors to the community 24/7. On average, 400 people came through their half-acre lot daily to drop off over 45 types of recyclables.
Cardboard is just one example of how recycling can greatly affect local landfills and in turn local climate.
Throughout an average year, Recycle Utah will process around 2,000 tons (4 million pounds) of recycling, one-third of which is cardboard. Keeping cardboard out of landfills is essential to curb the creation of methane, a greenhouse gas derived from organic matter like cardboard that greatly contributes to climate change and global warming.
In 2020 alone, Recycle Utah processed 10 tons (20,000 lbs.) of cardboard a week, saving about 108 cubic feet of space in local landfills weekly.
“We’re not healthcare, but we still serve a major role in the community, Carolyn Wawra, Executive Director of Recycle Utah. “All these materials came from the Earth originally. If we can use them to take less from the Earth again, then that positively impacts the environment and our community.”
In September, Recycle Utah will celebrate its 30th anniversary. As the organization continues to grow, they hope to find support from the community to build a bigger and better space for recycling, one that is more user-friendly, provides easier access for Summit County citizens outside of Park City, and sits on a larger plot of land, further supporting the community’s mission to act as a mountain leader in the fight against climate change.
“Park City Community Foundation granted over $96,000 to Recycle Utah in 2020 and its work is a stellar example of how local organizations are addressing climate change.”— Sean Kelleher, Park City Community Foundation Board Member